What’s the Deal with Getting a Hardship License?

Posted on Dec 5, 2013 in DUI/DWI, Local Issues

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Bloom Legal, LLC represents numerous clients convicted of Driving While Intoxicated charges (DWI). Many of these clients express concerns about the status of their driver’s license. Once convicted of a DWI charge, you will be facing both criminal charges and civil charges. It is the outcome of these civil charges which will determine the status of one’s license.

Louisiana has implied consent law. Under this law, you consent to take a breath, blood, or urine test if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been driving or boating while intoxicated. The basis of these laws is the belief that driving is a privilege, not a right. Like all privileges, your privilege to drive can be taken away from you if you abuse it.

As such, your license is immediately in question when you are arrested for a DWI. You have 15 days from your arrest to request a hearing with the Office of Motor Vehicles to determine whether there was probable cause for your arrest. It is difficult to defeat a hearing on probable. As such, your licenses privileges may likely be revoked.

For most, having a suspended license for 90 days or more is problematic. For those clients, we can recommend they request a hardship driver’s license. A hardship driver’s license is a restricted license issued by the Office of Motor Vehicles when your license has been suspended.

A hardship driver’s license allows you to drive during the suspension of your license for the purpose of earning a livelihood, for a medical hardship, or for the necessities of life. Essentially, you will be able to drive to work, for medical purposes and for things like school, or picking up your children, etc. A hardship license to operate a commercial motor vehicle (Class A, B, or C) is not available. However, you may be able to downgrade your Class A, B, or C operator’s license to a Class D or E and, then apply for a hardship license.

When your license has been suspended due to an arrest for a DWI, an ignition interlock system may need to be installed in your vehicle in order to obtain a hardship license. If you fall under any of the following categories, the interlock system will be a requirement of your hardship license: (1) a first- or second-offense DWI conviction; (2) driving under suspension if the suspension resulted from a first- or second-offense DWI conviction; (3) your refusal to submit to blood alcohol testing when arrested for a first- or second-offense DWI, or (4) if you had a blood alcohol test and the test results showed more than 0.08 grams of alcohol or less than 0.08 grams but you were nevertheless convicted of first- or second-offense DWI.

An ignition interlock system is an alcohol breath screening machine connected to the engine’s ignition system. You will be required to blow into the device when entering your vehicle. Accordingly, your vehicle won’t start if it detects a blood alcohol level above a preset limit. Again, this is a restricted license and you will be restricted to where and when you can drive your vehicle. The device merely assures that you will not be drinking and driving to those restricted places. Further it is a serious crime to tamper with or turn off these devices.

In order to receive the hardship license and interlock system you will need 1) A written request for the interlock to the Department of Public Safety, 2) A certificate of installation of the interlock system, 3) A copy of the lease agreement for the interlock system, 4) Documentation of the required insurance (an SR-22 or SR-22 binder), and 5) To pay all reinstatement and licenses fees, and 6) A letter from your employers if you are driving a company vehicle.

Drinking and driving is a serious offense, which is litigated intensely by the Department of Public Safety. Again, driving is a privilege and it can be revoked if you are arrested for a DWI. Although there are many hurdles in obtaining a hardship driver’s license, it is a viable solution to obtaining driving privileges to maintain your livelihood.

Never drink and drive. If you are planning on drinking, always use a designated driver. If you are intoxicated and you do get a DWI, please don’t hesitate to call Seth Bloom at Bloom Legal for a consultation. There is nothing easy about dealing with a DWI charge. Let Seth help you through this tough and complicated time.

Call Seth Bloom at Bloom Legal, (504) 599-9997, or email info@bloomlegal.com.

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